Sausages and kolbasas are cured meats that have been a culinary staple in Russian for nearly 100 years. Back in 1917 meat was especially in demand in a country that had just experienced a revolution. Unified by the Bolsheviks under a communist ideology, the young Soviet Republic struggled to produced enough food to feed its people. In communist Russia and other Soviet Republics, the central government controlled all production. By 1939 Stalin was in charge and Russia was steadily growing industry and production of new meat products based on a simple concept – preserving meat by curing, smoking, and drying them.
This method actually was borrowed from the Italians, who are credited for inventing salami. Yet the record for world cured meat production certainly goes to Russia. Russian sausages and kolbasas differed from its Italian cousins in that they were always smoked. Similar methods were applied to meat products in Poland and other Soviet bloc countries, which explains why kielbasas and kolbasas have similar flavor profiles. All Russian sausages were cured with a flavoring agent that gave the meat a strong pink color and distinct salty flavor. Some kolbasas contained more fat — or natural lard — than others, making the texture of the kolbasa more or less dry.
For semi smoked varieties check out Krerestyanskaya sausage once considered a delicacy in Russia. Traditionally served hot for the holidays, or fried with eggs, this sausage also makes a delicious snack or sandwich cold meat. Chicken Cervelat Sausage is a healthier alternative to Russian sausage and is made with all natural ingredients including chicken meat, salt, sugar and spices.
Get the scoop on the Russian sausage industry at understandrussia.com.